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How to Backup a Website?

backup website

You can do many things to keep your website safe, ranging from choosing a reliable web host to using multi-factor authentications. However, one of the most critical security measures is regularly backing up your website.

But how exactly do you backup a website, and why is it important to do so? In this article, I’ll provide four critical reasons why regular website backups are necessary and show you two ways to do it – manually and automatically. 

Let’s get started. 

How to Backup a Website Manually

There are two general ways to backup your website manually – using the cPanel or the FTP. Let’s discuss each method separately to see which one will work best for you.

Backing up a Website via cPanel

Hosting providers tend to have different control panels, but they mainly work in similar ways. Taking this into account, I’ll explain the steps using the most common option – the cPanel.

  1. Log in to your hosting provider’s cPanel. 
  2. Navigate to the File Manager, then head to your Home directory or public_html.
  3. Locate the WordPress directory.
  4. Click on the WordPress directory and press Compress on the menu bar. Or, right-click on the folder and press Compress from the drop-down menu that appears.
  5. Pick the compression type from ZIP, GZIP, Tar, etc. I’d recommend using ZIP.
  6. Click the Compress File button and wait for the process to complete. It might take some time. Once it’s done, the server will automatically save your compressed WordPress folder.
  7. Right-click on the archive and press Download.
  8. Find a secure location on the hard disk on your computer, then save the backup folder.

An extra tip – it’s also good practice to upload your backup files to one of your cloud storage, like Dropbox or Google Drive. This gives additional security in case one of the backup files fails or is corrupted.

backup

Backing up a Website via FTP

  1. Connect to the FTP server using an FTP client, like FileZilla
  2. Type in all your FTP details from your hosting account and press Connect.
  3. On the upper-left corner, click Desktop or any other folder where you want to store your backups.
  4. Right-click on the lower-left section and click on the Create directory and enter it. Then type in the name for the new directory.
  5. On the right side of the page, find and click the public_html folder.
  6. Drag and drop the public_html folder to the left side into your new backup folder.
  7. Wait until the process is finished and you’ve successfully backed up your website.

Backup Your Website Database

You’ll also need to manually backup your WordPress database, which can be done in five steps:

  1. Go to your cPanel and access the phpMyAdmin control panel. It’s usually located in the Database tools section.
  2. Select the Databases table and open it.
  3. Once open, select all of the tables you wish to back up by ticking the checkboxes.
  4. Click the Export button and set the format to SQL.
  5. Press Go, and the database will be saved in a secure location on your computer. 

How to Backup a Website Automatically

Some web hosting companies offer an auto-backup option when you purchase one of their hosting plans. All you need to do is set up the frequency and time of the backup process.

If they don’t provide the auto-backup feature and you don’t want to do it manually, there is software like Handy Backup, BackWPup, Backup Machine, and VaultPress that can help you.

These plugins offer extra features, like restoring backups, log reports, auto-encryption, and compression.

To use one of these backup plugins, simply install and activate the plugin, then set up the frequency and time of the auto-backup feature and set the location on your hard drive to store the backup files.

Why a Website Backup is Important

Having a backup of all your website data and files can help you in many situations, especially when it comes to hacking or malware attacks. 

It’s hard to imagine losing all your data and SEO efforts. Luckily, you can easily avoid this by regularly backing up your website.

Here are some reasons why regular website backups are vital for your business:

  1. Bad updates – New updates may sometimes come with their own set of problems, which can break your site. Being able to go back to an older version of your WordPress is a great way to prevent this until the issue is fixed.
  2. Loss of data – Accidentally deleting an important file or data can happen. Having a backup means you can quickly get the deleted file back. 
  3. Protection against hackers – If hackers manage to breach your website’s security and lock you out of your website, having a backup means you can quickly regain control of your website and change your credentials.
  4. Resolve compatibility issues quickly – If you use many plugins and themes, sometimes the new ones might not be compatible with your existing add-ons. By having a backup of your website, you can quickly revert to the version where the new add-ons are not installed.

Conclusion

You now know the different ways to backup your website, whether it is manually or automatically. All that’s left to do is check and make sure that your website is backed up properly.

Remember that you’ll need to backup your site every week if you decide to use the manual method.  However, if you have crucial information flowing through your site constantly, then backing up your site every three days is a better schedule.

If you don’t have a lot of free time on your hands, opting for auto-backup plugins or software is the best way to go.

Good luck!

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